Utah State University’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Steering Committee is seeking feedback on a draft report released today that outlines steps USU should take to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and work toward achieving carbon neutrality.
“For decades, academia has been a leader in advancing our understanding of the causes of climate change and the implications it will have for ecosystems, economies and vulnerable populations around the world,” the draft report states. “As the scope and urgency of this problem have increased considerably in recent years, now is a critical time for academic institutions to implement climate-wise decision-making practices and reduce emissions from our activities and facilities.”
In 2007, USU President Stan Albrecht signed the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Agreement, setting the goals to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. Between 2007 and 2017, Utah State's emissions fell by approximately 20 percent per full time equivalent student and 30 percent per square foot, but as the university continues to grow, so does its carbon footprint.
In February 2019, USU President Noelle Cockett charged the new Greenhouse Gas Reduction Steering Committee to look into ways USU could be more proactive in reducing greenhouse gas emissions to achieve carbon neutrality goals.
“USU climate scientists have been leaders in the science of climate change,” President Cockett said. “We want to ensure that this leadership extends to USU’s role in reducing carbon emissions on USU’s campuses and also in improving air quality in communities throughout the state.”
The draft report is the culmination of the work of many faculty, staff and students and provides 10 key recommendations.
“I greatly appreciate the extensive work of the steering committee as we look to address this critical issue,” President Cockett said. “USU is fortunate to have significant faculty expertise in climate change and sustainability issues, and I thank them and the many faculty, staff and students who put so much time and effort into creating this report.”
The report is available online, and the steering committee sent the report by email to all university employees on Monday, Dec. 9, to gather feedback. Comments are due by Dec. 31, and a final report is expected in January 2020.